It is as if every brand and PR agency wants to work with bloggers but no one has any method to the madness. It is still a nascent thing in India, this “blogging”, but it has been around for over a decade now. One would think there would be some standards, a set of questions perhaps – to determine what blogs suit what brands – but no. Nothing.

I don’t even like calling myself a “blogger” because it seems to be an overly abused word associated with “college kids who do ‘timepass’ on the internet with a free domain”. That sounds utterly unprofessional and professional blogging is anything but. Yes, I do get paid to blog ( always include a disclaimer ), which is why I say “professional” blogger.

The fact that I’m also a professional photographer makes things even more complicated for prospective clients wanting to work for me. “Do we hire her for photography or should we invite her to our event in the hope that she will ‘cover’ it on her blog?” “Can we invite her to the event that has free alcohol and food and we’re sure she’ll bring her camera and then she can give us the images?” “We have a budget of X and we want her to write about our brand on her blog, but we don’t want anyone to know we paid her for it.”

I’m not going to generalize how ALL bloggers work. I will try to write about how I work and how I prefer to work and what a typical prospective client can expect. This will be a series of posts / article and I will update with links to previous points as I publish new ones.

First things first, please don’t equate print publication journalists to online / internet bloggers.

To put it simply, print publication journalists draw a salary, independent bloggers don’t. So while it might be your “company policy” to not pay for media coverage in cash, that policy is traditionally built around print / TV media. Bloggers are a whole different ball game. Abroad, some very popular bloggers get paid to attend events. While this is not the case in India yet ( not that I know of for sure anyway ), I do see it as a possibility.

As an example, a magazine’s fashion features writer / editor is invited to an event by a brand and they attend or send their junior writer to attend depending on how much that brand spends on advertising in their magazine. It’s a relationship thing AND a money thing. As a blogger, I’d like to build relationships too but I’m not getting paid a salary, so please appreciate the effort for what it is. I want to do exciting work but I want to show revenues and profits for doing it.

Small expenses add up : cost of time on phone conversations, cost of time spent on email ( where a blogger has to explain in detail how the prospective client might better deal with them for a win-win transaction and not bite eachother’s heads off. ), cost of a cab to attend an event / press day / launch party / after party / fashion show, cost of time spent on photography, cost of time spent on editing those photos, cost of time spent on composing a blog post / tweeting / Instagramming / Pinteresting / Facebooking, and some bloggers have interns and WE pay salaries TO THEM.

But these “costs” are not why you should pay a blogger – pay them because they bring solid value to the table.

Blogging is a different media category and we expect to be treated differently.

This is the first part in a series of “How To Work With Bloggers”. Please do add your comments / suggestions / ideas in the comments section – if you, as a PR Agency / Prospective client would like some specific questions answered or if you’re a blogger and have something you’d like PR Agencies / Prospective clients to know.

The entire “How To Work With Bloggers” series.

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